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Strong winds sweep restaurant employees off their feet during storm

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A group of employees were setting up tents for an event at The Esso Club in Clemson, South Carolina, when a huge gust of wind sent one man flying in the air.

Posted: Aug 23, 2019 1:50 AM
Updated: Aug 23, 2019 1:50 AM

Zach Balogh and his roommate were sitting in their living room in Clemson, South Carolina, as winds started to howl when they heard the piercing beeps and buzzes of storm alerts.

They ran to their window to take in the tumultuous scene outside. Across the street at a restaurant, the Esso Club, employees were struggling to secure a tent to the ground during the storm.

Balogh started filming and was astounded when seconds later the strong winds physically swept two people off of their feet.

The winds flung a man up in the air higher than the roof of the Esso Club and threw him on the side of the building.

As the man, Samuel Foster, released the tent leg he was holding onto, he ended up hitting the gutter, followed by an abrupt landing, Balogh's video shows.

Foster told CNN affiliate WYFF that in the moment, all he could think about was saving all the work they had put into the setup.

"It took a second to register, but then I'm, like, 20 feet in the air and all I could think about was, 'I've got to land on this roof,'" Foster said.

He didn't make it and flew into the gutter before hitting the ground.

Foster had to get stitches above his left eye and suffered several cuts and bruises.

"I'm really thankful for God for looking out for me there," Foster said. "Esso's been really supportive. My friends, my fraternity -- I'm really thankful for all of that."

A female employee was also lifted several feet in the air and thrown into a table upon landing, the video shows. The Esso Club told WYFF the woman was recovering from her injuries.

Managers at the Esso Club told WYFF they were setting up a large tent Monday morning for a Clemson University event. A storm rolled through in the afternoon and began blowing the tables, chairs and tent that was set up in the parking lot.

Esso Club employees tried to secure the tent during the storm but were unsuccessful because of how powerful the winds were.

"The bigger tent that we had installed that morning, it kind of just took off," Esso Club General Manager Candice Bell told WYFF.

Balogh told CNN he reached out to the Esso Club to make sure the employees weren't seriously injured before he posted his video.

"I wasn't intending to videotape anybody getting hurt," Balogh said. "The whole time, I was thinking, 'Oh my God, I hope they're OK.'"

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